We finally get our lives going the way we want, and something upsets the balance. The unexpected event, change in circumstances, a looming deadline, or just plain reality sets in. Then we have to make a decision.
This is not just any decision, like what to wear today, or what to eat. I am talking about the decision that will set the course of our lives. The decision that will set us into a pattern for years to come. The decision that will shape how we think and process information. It can be whether we change jobs or stay. It can be whether we marry that person or break it off. It can be whether we believe something to be true or not.
These types of questions have life-altering implications, but it isn't the questions or the results of our decisions that is at the issue here. It is always how we choose to choose that will shape our character, not the choice itself. For instance, some people may have no problem changing jobs when things get tough, or stay because they don't know what else to do. But when a person knows something to be true, and it is out of character to follow a particular path — even though it is the right course — that is the moment when character will either blossom or die a little.
Is that too drastic? No, I don't think so. Usually when we have to make decisions that are unclear, there may be fear involved. But what do we do with the fear? Sometimes the decision is clear, but the implications cause fear in us. What will we do with the fear?
In a tragic episode in Israelite history, the Hebrews were faced with unknown consequences. They knew that God wanted them to go into a land, with the promise that blessings will follow. But...
The excuses rained out from them.
"There are people living there that are bigger and stronger than us."
"Why has the Lord bought us out here to die?"
"It's the leaderships' fault. If Moses and Aaron were better leaders, we wouldn't be in this mess!"
"I don't understand why we just couldn't stay in Egypt. At least the food was good, and we got plenty of exercise."
We are no different. Whenever we succumb to fear, we die in the desert. Maybe not literally, but a piece of our character dies, never realizing the blessing waiting for us. We either look back at the good-old-days, or we fantasize about unrealistic hopes that are born out of cowardice.
Will all our big decisions be like this? No. Most big issues in life involve decisions between two good choices, or unclear paths, or obvious challenges that we are accustomed to seeing. But there always comes a time when we may have to sacrifice our Isaac, or visit our cross. What will we do then? I don't know about you. But, I hope I will have the faith to lean on Jesus.